Just Drives, She Said: Of the Internet, the distraction machine…

Here’s a useful way of thinking about ourselves and the Internet…

Who hasn’t started off googling one subject only to find themselves an hour or two later on something entirely different, with the original subject remaining unexplored? Or worse, feeling an irrational need to keep connected even when there’s nothing your really want to see. Recent media theory has explored the psychoanalytic concept of the “drive” to explain our investment in this culture of distraction. Unlike desire, which strives after an object only to never really possess it, the goal of the drive is loss itself. The drive is a compulsion to enact loss, to jump, to interrupt; it is a process where a strange enjoyment comes from the repeated staging of disconnection. The theory of the drive resonates with what Carr describes as the contemporary phenomenon of ‘craving interruption’, whether on the internet, texting while watching TV, or a host of other mediated ways to stay distracted.

Cooper has more to say on this, which I will post another time, promise…

Here’s a quote by Bidisha from an old post I did on google-bingeing and brainaches

The internet enables you look up anything you want and get it slightly wrong. It’s like a never-ending, trashy magazine sucking all time, space and logic into its bottomless maw. And, like all trashy magazines, it has its own tone, slang and lexicon. I was tempted to construct this piece in textspeak, Tweet abbreviations or increasingly abusive one-liners to demonstrate the level of wit the internet has facilitated – one that is frighteningly easily to mimic and perpetuate. What we need to counteract the slipshod syntax, off-putting abusiveness, unruly topic-roaming and frenetic, unreal “social networking” is good, old-fashioned discipline. We are the species with the genius to create something as wondrous as the internet in the first place. Surely we have enough self-control to stay away from Facebook.


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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